How to Furnish Your Home for the First Time (Without Breaking the Bank)

You’ve finally done it — met a huge life milestone and bought your first home. Then, it hits you. A house requires far more furniture than a tiny apartment. How are you supposed to fill all this space?

If you’ve found yourself suddenly needing a whole house full of furniture in a hurry, this post is for you. We’ve compiled our best tips for how to furnish your home without breaking the bank. Follow our advice and your new house will become a home before you know it.

Assess your current inventory

As much as we would all like to furnish our new home with brand new, Pinterest-board-ready furniture, for most of us, that’s not a realistic option. While some fresh pieces will probably be necessary, you won’t be able to get a true sense of what’s needed without taking stock of your existing inventory, especially if you’re combining households with your significant other for the first time.

To do this, sit down and take a long, hard look at everything you own. Start with staple pieces of furniture and then move on to smaller items like textiles and accessories. Evaluate each item based on its usefulness, condition and whether or not it fits your sense of personal style. Make a list and separate the pieces into one of three categories: Keep, Unsure and Donate/Discard.

After you’ve gotten the first two categories settled, look over them once more. This time, decide where each item will be placed in your new home. Keep an open mind and consider alternative arrangements from your last living situation. If something truly doesn’t fit in your new surroundings, consider letting it go.

Rank purchases by priority

Since buying a home is such a big expense, people usually have a limited budget for furnishings once they move in. This, coupled with the excitement of designing their own spaces for the first time, can lead to some costly mistakes. Either the new homeowners will go into debt giving the home a top-to-bottom makeover or they blow the entire budget making one room perfect down to the last detail and have no money left for other essentials.

That doesn’t need to be the case. Here’s the secret interior designers don’t want you to know: It’s absolutely fine to furnish a home piece by piece, rather than going one room at a time. While you’ll probably want to ensure you have a few essential items — a bed, a dresser, a sofa and a dining table — available at move in, the rest can be bought over time.

After assessing your inventory, determine what’s missing. List items you need to fill your home, ranking them in order of priority. Then, take some time to decide how much you can, realistically, spend on furniture and make the purchases accordingly. Keep the list close at hand, so you can refer to it whenever you have some extra cash to spend.

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